Unleashing greatness through ‘smartnerships’

One of our partners, Duncan Ward, recently won the “Best Start Up – Social Impact” category at ‘The Talent Unleashed Awards’ 2016 for his organisation, Classroom of Hope, Australian partner for project J759N ‘Schools for Excellence’.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson are two of the judges on the panel. The awards feature five categories recognising and celebrating innovative business and social/community-based initiatives that have the power to truly change lives—solving problems, increasing value, or have transformational impact within a given community.

Classroom of Hope helps children ‘unleash their greatness’ through education. “Our purpose is to provide access to quality education to children living in poverty in developing countries,” Duncan said. “How we do that is we partner with local NGOs that are best practiced in implementing education projects that deliver programs of creating child-friendly schools, building schools, building toilets, building water facilities and providing scholarships to kids who don’t have access to education to help them back into school.”

Duncan continued, “Our business model is all about ‘smartnerships’. We deliver international development programs in a non-colonial approach. What we do with our partner Global Development Group is seek out who are the best local NGOs in countries delivering education projects, and we have specific due diligence that we do. We meet with a number of local partners to see how they’re operated, visit specific projects that they have already implemented, check their financial processes and systems to ensure that everything is ticked from our perspective and that our values are aligned.”

Once this has been established, Duncan says they ask the groups about the various needs and problems in the area and how they propose these issues can be resolved through facilitation and empowerment.

“The proposal is then presented to our Board and Global Development Group. Once approved and all project documentation is in place, we start fundraising. We then send funds over to our partners and they start executing those projects and we monitor and evaluate every six months.”

Duncan said that winning the award motivated him to keep going, trying, pushing, learning and seeing failures as ‘experience’.

“When those experiences occur they help you learn something about yourself and your organisation and create the opportunities for you to tweak or make the differences that you need to do in order for you to continue forwards, to grow, and to achieve your goals,” he said.

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